oklahoma department of corrections

A Tulsa state lawmaker’s interim study dug into sentencing reform recommendations from a 22-member council that the authors defended as a needed compromise and reform advocates said didn't go far enough.

Republican Sen. Dave Rader wanted to hear more about the proposal, which would create 14 categories of felonies, each with a range of punishment, a minimum percentage that must be served and enhancements for any prior convictions.

Oklahoma Prisons Locked Down After Inmate Attacks

Sep 3, 2021

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The head of Oklahoma's prison system ordered a statewide lockdown Friday after several inmates were injured in what authorities say were gang-related attacks.

Corrections Director Scott Crow ordered the lockdown Friday afternoon and canceled all visitation. Prison system spokesman Justin Wolf said he couldn't release many details because the incidents were still under investigation.

The Department of Corrections said apparent gang-related incidents occurred at six different prisons.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Public safety and corrections officials answered questions Tuesday from Oklahoma lawmakers on the planned closing of William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply.

The plan was hastily announced two weeks ago after the Woodward News learned of it. According to the Department of Corrections, there are currently 414 inmates at the prison, not even 40% of its capacity.

Most Oklahoma Prisons Operating Normally After Lockdown

Jun 7, 2021

SAYRE, Okla. (AP) — Nearly all Oklahoma prisons returned to normal operations on Saturday after a statewide lockdown following a fight at one facility in the western part of the state.

The statewide lockdown had been ordered on Friday after a fight among inmates at the North Fork Correctional Center in Sayre.

One inmate at the prison randomly attacked six others, some of whom were stabbed or cut, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

The six inmates who were attacked received medical care at area hospitals. All the inmates are expected to recover.

Vaccine Hesitancy Among Guards And Inmates Could Threaten State Prisons

Mar 24, 2021
Whitney Bryen / Oklahoma Watch

About two-thirds of Oklahoma prison workers and just under half of the inmates have opted not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from the state Department of Corrections, a sign that vaccine hesitancy remains high and some facilities may not reach the immunity threshold necessary to prevent future outbreaks. 

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says COVID-19 vaccines are beginning to arrive at the state's prisons, but some advocates for the incarcerated say the state's rollout for that population is lacking.

Pixnio

The head of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is hopeful they can start vaccinating inmates against COVID-19 in mid- to late February.

DOC Director Scott Crow floated that timeline to the corrections board this week. Prisons and other facilities have signed up to be vaccine providers and will get shipments directly from the state.

Agency spokesman Justin Wolf said they do not know exactly when doses will start arriving, but the logistics are being worked out.

FWD.us / Terence Crutcher Foundation

A new report from a pair of criminal justice advocacy group says the state of Oklahoma has disproportionately imprisoned Black residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An attorney for an Oklahoma death row inmate testified Wednesday that he has found new potential witnesses who might be able to help his client’s case but who would be prevented from testifying by a state law because his client’s appeals have been exhausted. 

Attorney Don Knight, who represents death row inmate Richard Glossip, testified before the House Public Safety Committee during a hearing about the future of the death penalty in Oklahoma.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Citing continued spread of COVID-19, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections said Thursday that visitation is suspended at all state correctional facilities.

"This unfortunate, albeit necessary, action quells a potential source for viral infection and spread," the agency said in a statement.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

In response to growing numbers of both COVID-19 infections and deaths possibly caused by the virus across its prison system, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced Tuesday new measures meant to get outbreaks under control.

"Every time I learn of a new case, it really makes me sick," said Scott Crow, director of the agency, at a press conference with Gov. Kevin Stitt at the Capitol, "because this is extremely important."

"A positive case makes me sick, but an inmate death even makes me sicker," Crow said.

Facebook / Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections reported Wednesday that a second woman incarcerated at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft has died, possibly of COVID-19.

The agency said Wednesday it was unable to confirm her identity due to medical privacy laws, but family members, inmate advocates and a cosmetology program for incarcerated women identify her as Vernita Watts, 70. Watts' status in the DOC's publicly available inmate database was changed from "ACTIVE" to "INACTIVE" at some point on Wednesday or Thursday.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced Monday another major coronavirus outbreak at one of its facilities, a prison for men in Vinita.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections on Thursday reported the death of a second inmate who tested positive for COVID-19.

The male inmate from Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington was admitted to an Oklahoma City hospital more than a week ago with COVID-19-related symptoms and died on Wednesday, the agency reported. The man’s name was not released.

In a statement, DOC said, "The man had signed a do not resuscitate directive and requested the hospital withdraw all treatment."

Google Maps

A woman incarcerated at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility in Muskogee County, where more than 700 women have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, has died after being hospitalized with "symptoms associated with COVID-19."

"Due to several health issues, the medical examiner’s office will review all underlying medical facts and conditions to determine if COVID-19 was a significant factor in her death," according to a statement from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

Google Maps

Hundreds more women incarcerated at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft have tested positive for COVID-19 since the state initially reported a major outbreak there last week.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections said that, as of noon on Thursday, 721 women had active cases of the disesase caused by the novel coronavirus, with three hospitalized. The facility houses around 900. Eddie Warrior is a minimum-security facility, with open dormitory-style housing units.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

More than 500 people incarcerated at the Eddie Warrior Correctional Facility, a minimum-security women's state prison in Muskogee County, have tested positive for COVID-19, an outbreak causing the Muskogee area's infection data to soar.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections cancelled visitation at all state prisons over the weekend following an outbreak at the Lexington Correctional Center, where 87 inmates inside one housing unit tested positive in the last 24 hours. All of the inmates reported no symptoms prior to testing and were placed in isolation, the agency said in a press release.

Oklahoma Moving Inmates from Private Prison in Cushing

Jul 18, 2020
OK.gov

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has announced plans to move about 1,400 inmates out of a medium-security private prison in Cushing that has been the site of some of the state’s worst prison violence in recent years.

The decision announced late Thursday is part of a cost-cutting move as a result of a $24 million budget cut, which is about 4.4% of the agency’s annual budget, said DOC spokesman Justin Wolf.

A conservative think tank is making the case for a ballot initiative that would do away with repeat offender sentence enhancements for nonviolent crimes.

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs found enhancements were applied 80% of the time, despite district attorneys saying they’re used selectively. OCPA Executive Vice President Trent England said people convicted of petty crime or struggling with addiction shouldn’t go to prison for decades.

Facebook / @OklahomaDOC

The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board voted to recommend special medical parole for 12 inmates determined to be at elevated risk from the coronavirus pandemic.

At a virtual meeting of the board on Wednesday morning, Steven Bickley, the body's executive director, explained how the specific inmates ended up on the docket. 

"The agency received a letter from [Oklahoma Department of Corrections] Director [Scott] Crow on Friday, May 1st, recommending 14 inmates for medical parole," Bickley said. "That is authorized by him under statute."

State of Oklahoma

An Oklahoma Senate panel advanced on Tuesday the nomination of Department of Corrections Director Scott Crow to hold the job on a permanent basis.

Crow said preparing inmates to successfully re-enter society will be a focus under his leadership. That will build on a transition fair concept proposed by Oklahoma First Lady Sarah Stitt and used before hundreds of inmates were released in a wave of commutations in November to connect them with housing, jobs and other services.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) — The Oklahoma Department of Corrections says a man who escaped from a minimum security state prison in McAlester has been captured.

The department says 40-year-old Jeremiah Hobbs was arrested Monday following a traffic stop 75 miles away from McAlester in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow.

Hobbs disappeared Thursday from the unfenced Jackie Brannon Correctional Center. The corrections department says a woman identified as Hobbs' girlfriend was also arrested during the traffic stop on a warrant for harboring a fugitive.